Increased COVID-19 Precautions

Dear Sunny Hollow Family,
As we head into winter, many private schools in the Twin Cities and beyond are making tough decisions about whether to stay open for on campus learning. At Sunny Hollow, we are committed to remaining open for on campus learning, with short or long term distance learning options as suits families’ individual needs. Factors that would require us to make a different plan, such as moving entirely to distance learning, would include inability to safely staff classrooms, COVID-19 outbreak with spread among children or staff at the school (as opposed to intermittent community acquired cases without spread), or state mandate.
At this time, we have had zero on-campus COVID-19 exposures. I remain confident in Sunny Hollow’s COVID-19 safety plan and in our ability to keep on-campus learning safe for children and staff.  Our plan is working well, but will be tested as community COVID-19 cases continue to rise. For our on-campus plan to work, we will need the help of each and every household with a Sunny Hollow on campus learner this winter. Here at Sunny Hollow, we are planning to continue in-person learning, an opportunity that most children in Minnesota do not have this winter. Maintaining this opportunity will require that the families of our on campus learners go above and beyond what is being asked for most Minnesotans. I am proud of our flexible plan that allows moving in and out of distance learning to suit the needs of individual students and their families. I
On November 18, Governor Walz turned the dial back and imposed new restrictions, which begin tonight at 11:59pm and last through December 18. Beginning midnight tonight, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household will be prohibited, bars and restaurants will no longer allow indoor dining, gyms, fitness centers, entertainment venues, event spaces and similar establishments will be required to close and all adult and youth sports are paused.
Given this, a new question will be added to the daily health screen for on-campus learners about whether they or a household member has shared indoor or outdoor space (outside of Sunny Hollow) unmasked for more than 15 minutes with anyone outside their immediate household. We will adjust this after December 18 based on what best practices are at that time. We will also expand our other daily health screen questions to include household members. We will continue to use the Minnesota Department of Health’s “COVID19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs” as a guide. However, our school’s situation is unique in many ways, and we will treat this guidance as a floor not a ceiling, erring on the side of being more cautious than strictly required by law.
We will send the email with the daily health screening form to all families on Monday morning, even if you opted out of receiving them. Please make sure you use the new health screen.
If your child is an on-campus learner, please review the following guidelines:
  • Do not gather, except with immediate household members, in accordance with state mandate. 
    • Do not engage in any social gatherings, shared meals, or “play dates” with members of other households at this time.
    • If anyone from outside your household needs to enter your home, everyone in the space should wear masks and physically distance.
      • If your family needs to employ a sitter/nanny from another household, that person, and any household members over the age of 2, should wear masks.
        • Private space should be arranged for the sitter/nanny to take meals/breaks away from household members.
    • If any person from your household needs to enter another home, everyone in the space should mask and physically distance.
    • If you ride share or carpool with members of another household, everyone should wear a mask in the vehicle.
    • If there is a grandparent, nanny, or other person with whom the household has regular in-person contact, two options are available:
      • That person’s entire household will count as part of the Sunny Hollow student’s household, and must follow all Sunny Hollow COVID-19 related policies
      • That person will need to be considered a non household member, in which case social/optional gathering should be paused. Necessary interactions, such as babysitting, should be masked and without shared meals/snacks, as per above.
  • Do not eat or drink in shared spaces outside of your household.
    • Indoor drinking and dining will be paused in Minnesota for 4 weeks due to the high risk of COVID transmission when unmasked people share indoor space.
      • Do not eat or drink indoors with other households in private settings, in out of state restaurants/bars, or in other shared indoor spaces.
    • Take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery are quite low risk. Do continue to patronize local businesses and enjoy a variety of delicious foods at home with your children.
    • Refrain from eating with co-workers in shared lunch or break rooms if you work outside the home.
  • Do not share space with people who are exercising
    • Most gyms and in person youth sports are paused for 4 weeks due to the high risk of COVID transmission when people exhale forcefully around other people.
  • Children and household members should avoid situations where fewer than 95% of individuals are masked. 
    • Shopping, haircuts, and similar indoor activities have been shown to be low risk so long as there is good mask use and hand hygiene.
    • When at a mall or other public space, look around to be sure mask compliance is at least 95%
    • Should you attend a wedding or funeral, look around to make sure mask compliance is at least 95%.
      • Do not attend a reception or gathering associated with the event.
  • Closely evaluate all exposures to other households, even if masks are worn. If there is an option for remote participation in shared activities, take it, or consider pausing the activity for now.
    • In person learning means children from several households are spending the bulk of the day together. Reduction of each household’s total contacts is key to maintaining the safety of this classroom congregation.
    • Do not delay medical or dental care due to COVID-19 concerns. Current data suggests that visiting a doctor, hospital, or dentist is quite low risk.
If your child is on campus, it is expected that their entire household has been in compliance with the above policy. If you anticipate any events in your household that do not follow the above guidelines and would therefore require your child to be off campus quarantining, please let your child’s lead guide know as soon as possible in order to best prepare for an interval of distance learning.
Decision making about family activities, especially around the holidays, is highly specific to each individual. Every family is different, and only you can decide what is best for your own household. We realize that not every household will be able to maintain strict isolation from other households as is required for on campus learners, especially over Thanksgiving. Sunny Hollow is here to support your child whether your family is best served by opting for in person learning, distance learning, or a mix of both.
Please wait 10-14 days to return to on campus learning if any member of your household is unable to adhere to the above guidelines for any reason.
If you have any questions at all, or need to seek clarification on any of the above policies, please contact me.
Take care,